The new breeding season for the Southern Hemisphere is underway. Most breeders have probably made their selection, but for those who haven’t read on. There are many books and web sources providing information on breeding thoroughbreds. I won’t expand on this here, but during the last few years I have covered a few breeding issues in my blogs. These issues are rarely canvassed by others but should be part of the selection mix.
Are Stallion Fees a Reliable Predictor of a Foal’s Prize-winning Potential?
This matter is covered in March 2021. The answer given by the scientific work of A J Wilson and A Rambaut (Biol Lett 2008, April 23 4(2) 173-175) is a definite no. You should not evaluate a stallion on his racetrack performance or that of his relations, but on its pedigree. Sometimes they are both good, but sometimes one is way ahead of the other. The real issue is how a stallion and mare’s pedigrees will fit together. These comments do not necessarily apply to those breeders whose aim is to make money using the formula best to the best and hope for the best. Someone will always pay big money for the progeny resulting from implementation of this plan.
Beware The Danehill Cross
A quote by John Boyce says it all “Top-Class racehorses inbred to Danehill have been conspicuous by their absence”. My limited investigation set out in August 2020, confirms this view. Mares carrying Danehill or his son’s lines are now the preeminent pedigree lines in Australian mares. Crossing them to any Danehill line stallions requires a great deal of thought, investigation, and care. These Danehill problems spill over to some extent to the batch of Danehill family line stallions. In my view there are better options in the next breeding season for Danehill mares. The compatibility problems will decrease as the Danehill genes move to the right of the pedigree and become less important.
Don’t believe that Brothers and Sisters are the same
Quite often you hear or read that such and such is a good choice because its brother/sister was such a good horse. If such a conclusion is reached because of a deep pedigree analysis it may have come validity. However, I have already explained why full brothers are different and as for brother/sister? One is XY and the XX. How different can you get?
Be Philosophical about Disappointment
Finally, even with all the best preparation in the world, you must be prepared for disappointment. Recently, never has there been a more striking example as this. Mount Fuji (Snitzel – Ichihara) was a $2.8m yearling. After a racing record of 4 starts and results of 0-1-1 $20,850 the horse sold at auction for $75,000. Why the fall from grace?
On my system it had a superb pedigree with a PRI score of 99.3. This puts it in multiple G1 status in my Library. No doubt all the pre-sale veterinary checks gave the yearling a clean bill of health. Which makes us look for things that are not easy if not impossible to measure. Every mammal has a biological, genetically controlled, clock. That’s why we age. But throughout life it can also regulate physiological factors such as arthritis, immune response, breathing controls and general health well-being. There are also psychological factors at work. Perhaps he didn’t really want to be a racehorse? A herd animal, perhaps he didn’t want to be an Alpha?
Mount Fuji might now find his mark at the $75k level of competition. For the new owners I hope he does. For the old owners my commiserations. I would probably given you the same advice you followed. Remember there will soon be the results of the new breeding season to examine
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